Skip to main content
66 votes
Accepted

How are aircraft depainted?

Paint stripper. Lots of paint stripper. (originally I said thinner, but I have been corrected, it's more accurately called stripper) Seriously though, it's actually not too different to other things ...
Simon Opit's user avatar
49 votes
Accepted

Why doesn't this 767 nose paint line up with the rest of the paint?

It has a nose radome from another aircraft installed. The aircraft that donated the radome was painted with older TUI livery, where the blue/white border is straight, and in a slightly different place....
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
46 votes
Accepted

Why are aircraft coloured in yellow during construction, repair or overhaul?

For unassembled and new planes or planes not yet painted the green/yellow color you see is the anti-corrosive coating on the aluminum ...every unpainted airplane is nominally green from being ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 101k
43 votes

Why was the Concorde painted white and not black?

There is a discussion on it here that's worth reading but in short the requirements were just different. A few of the key points, The black color on the SR-71 offered some night camouflage in ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 101k
35 votes
Accepted

Why are stealth aircraft not sky blue?

Because they are rarely tracked by eyeball. Any eyeball guided missile is short range enough to be defeated by altitude. Or if they are low enough, they aren't around long enough for the eye to ...
WPNSGuy's user avatar
  • 9,037
32 votes

Why are the wingtips of sailplanes painted red?

White is indeed chosen for thermal reasons. Gliders use epoxy resins which cure at room temperature and are then tempered at 60°C. This tempering shifts the glass transition temperature to something ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
31 votes

How are aircraft depainted?

In addition to the chemical method in Simon's answer, there are mechanical methods, like bead blasting. This method was introduced in the 80s by airforces concerned with the volume of chemical waste ...
AEhere supports Monica's user avatar
30 votes

Why did WWII prop aircraft have colored prop tips?

The prop tips are painted for visibility, to show that the prop is turning. This is especially important when the aircraft engine will be running in close proximity to people on the ground, but is ...
J W's user avatar
  • 16.6k
25 votes
Accepted

What is the purpose of the black paint below the cockpit windows?

It reduces glare (specular reflection). Football players paint black stripes under their eyes for the same reason. The legend for the paint scheme is excerpted in the inset, upper right. Item #33 "...
Tyler Durden's user avatar
  • 13.3k
25 votes
Accepted

What are these silver stripes on Cosmic Girl for?

It's aluminum "speed tape" being used to run wires around the outside of the fuselage, possibly for load cells or some other kind of sensor related to whatever is being tested and that was impractical ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
24 votes

What is the meaning of nose-art on the Tu-160 bomber?

(wikimedia.org) Most of the Tu-160 in service are named, much like the B-2 bombers are. The one in the image is S/N: 7-02 "Василий Решетников / Vasily Reshetnikov" named after a WW2 pilot. You can ...
AEhere supports Monica's user avatar
23 votes
Accepted

Why did WWII prop aircraft have colored prop tips?

That is not unique to WW2 planes, this is fairly common on most prop planes. It is to increase the visibility of a running (spinning) propeller to help people on the ground from accidentally coming in ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 101k
23 votes

Why are stealth aircraft not sky blue?

The sky in most of the world, most of the time, isn't blue. It's various shades of grey. A blue aircraft would stick out like a sore thumb against grey skies. This was found out already during WW2 ...
jwenting's user avatar
  • 16.1k
22 votes
Accepted

What is that yellow square to the right of the main entry door of this Lufthansa A350?

It's a yellow square that says Willkommen / Welcome. In one case I have seen that additional text was written into the square with a black (removable?) marker. Source This website explains it like ...
DeltaLima's user avatar
  • 83.5k
20 votes

Why does the B-2 Spirit have a pattern of thin white lines?

At a guess, they're 'walk here' lines, to show where you can walk, with the rest of the airframe being 'don't walk'.
RAC's user avatar
  • 4,616
19 votes
Accepted

What is in 'stealth paint' to absorb radar, and how does it work?

Stealth paint doesn't reflect radar, it absorbs it by converting it to heat which is absorbed and dissipated by the airplane's structure. Paint is only one of several Radar Absorbing Materials ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 54k
18 votes
Accepted

Why was the Concorde painted white and not black?

Concorde's average skin temperature was 92°C (365K). Calculating the black body radiation using the Stefan Boltzmann law we get 1006W/m². This the maximum heat flux possible with perfect radiation, ...
Level River St's user avatar
18 votes
Accepted

What are the random, differently-coloured rectangular patches on the top of this Boeing 737's fuselage?

They aren't "repair patches" themselves, they are repainted areas where some sort inspection and/or repair was done to the underlying structure, that required removal of the paint in the ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
18 votes
Accepted

What are these paint patches on this 787-8?

They are fixed spots where the surface paint has peeled off. Both Boeing and Airbus have been having this issue with their newer models. Manufacturers are stressing that this is simply a cosmetic ...
Jpe61's user avatar
  • 28.8k
17 votes
Accepted

What is the meaning of nose-art on the Tu-160 bomber?

Most Tu-160's are named after notable Soviet military pilots. English Wikipedia doesn't have a complete list; here's a link to the Russian version. Out of 16 currently active Tu-160's, 9 are named ...
IMil's user avatar
  • 286
15 votes

How are aircraft depainted?

Not to be a smart-ass, but I think the correct answer is "in accordance with the airframe manufacturer's instructions." Aircraft are generally given a corrosion protective layer (or passivated) at ...
DCP123's user avatar
  • 167
15 votes

How is camouflage paint applied?

Unlike airliners, military aircraft are NOT exact. This has a hand in foiling adversarial pattern recognition. 5th Gen fighter, F-22 This from www.military.com This from https://theaviationgeekclub....
WPNSGuy's user avatar
  • 9,037
13 votes
Accepted

Is the old paint removed before applying a new one?

Yes, paint imposes a significant weight penalty on larger aircraft. On commercial airliners, that weight translates to a reduction in cargo, passenger and fuel carrying capacity, and that means less ...
Juan Jimenez's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

Is there a specific purpose for the silver "swoosh" on Air Force One?

It's just for looks; an area of unpainted aluminum, polished. In this close up you can make out the rivet lines and skin laps of the bare aluminum surface. With a little work it's easy to get a ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
11 votes

Why did WWII prop aircraft have colored prop tips?

Visibility. Even on modern aircraft. On the flight decks of carriers for example. The E-2C and C-2A's prop tips are painted with a unique paint. As the prop turns, the friction between the prop and ...
LuftBier's user avatar
  • 609
10 votes

Is there a specific purpose for the silver "swoosh" on Air Force One?

As a follow up to this, it is just part of the paint/decoration. Polished aluminum. This pic is directly over my house. They use the local airport for training, on a monthly basis. (Image taken by me,...
WPNSGuy's user avatar
  • 9,037

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible